Learning Technology jottings at Goldsmiths

Thoughts and deeds

Jots from the Future of Technology in Education 2009 (p.m.)

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Blogging from the Future of Technology in Education 2009 a free one-day conference on 2nd Oct 2009, Royal Geographical Society, Kensington Gore, London, hosted by the University of London Computer Centre with the aim of getting people together.

See the previous (a.m.) post for info about tags, twitter, watching it all on video etc). What I didn’t mention is that DR from ITS is next to me.

Will McInnes – Our Social Tomorrow


Fragmentation. Explosive unbundling. Authority can change rapidly. Internet is agnostic about hierarchies of the physical world. People are scattered across the web. Widgets mean that online identities are homeless. Tapestry metaphor (seems to contradict the homelessness metaphor).Data. Nike+ widget in his partner’s shoe.

Coke bottle designed so that even if it were smashed in pieces, it was recognisable. Can we do this with educational identities?

(Unreal – everybody is laughing because he said his cat died.)

Continuous partial attention. He dug out some of the backchannel comments from twitter.

Communities. How does one make a community? Communities aren’t drag and drop. Digital tumbleweed is rolling through a lot of social media sites. Communities are more a matter of gardening than construction. Organic. Flicker personally greeted every new registrant, but most sites are like big cold warehouses. 1% do a lot of creation, maybe 9% edit or comment, and the rest are consumers. The 1% are very valuable, and need to be nurtured (but who nurtures the nurturers – isn’t this circular?)

Gaming. Toyota prius presents miles per gallon; that number becomes a driver of their behaviour when driving. Optimising that number becomes a game. Like beating your tomtom’s ETA. Can their be a score or metric that taps into some notional basic human motivation? (ACTION – Adam for 3DGraduate, or the Gold Award). blipfm has props; social currency.

Realtime. Google and Facebook rumoured to have tried to buy Twitter because it’s a cauldron of realtime reactions. Realtime demands different things from us.

Transparency. Rating and reviews. Apparently shallow but profound in their impact on organisations (there was was a TwitPoll for the morning’s speakers). Powerful in helping to accomplish some goals. E.g. it’s very helpful to know what your one-star products are. Can we harness this in education (Uh-oh ratemyprofessor. Uh-oh that prostitute rating site Harriet Harman flagged).

Will McInnes raises a lot of questions most of us have already asked, but in an entertaining way.

Physical internet. Wii. Streetview. Barcode scanner on my phone which can work out where I can get hold of something based on my GPS location. Nike+ goes in your shoe, you can do stuff based on your location (what stuff? What stuff?)

Online curating. Via filter blogger enthusiasts and scholars on Twitter or elsewhere.

James Clay (Uni of Glouc) the future of learning

Asked questions online and wordled them for the presentation. No one definitive thing will change or hinder learning.

We start each academic round in October. Put your hand up if you need to get the harvest in. Our ways of doing things are embedded in the past and we just tweak (but actually it has always been thus, and look how far we’ve come).

Institutions are constraining.

Is everything really learning? I don’t think it’s helpful to think of everything as learning. The kinds of learning we want to foster in HE are conscious, reflective forms.

There’s something illustrative about James Clay talking slightly wistfully about educational revolution from the front of the auditorium, as an authority figure. Why are elearning conferences still like this? Something’s working…

GPS – location-based learning is a new dimension (reminds me of Pearls(?) which does the same for the Wed).

Ereaders are going to change the way that learners learn.

James Clay has a mifi which provides connection for 5 people.

Battery technology has to change. Where are the power sockets for charging in secure places?

Specialist tools v. universal tool. (In my bag is a phone, an mp3 player, a reader, a camera and a laptop. Al of the above play mp3s, three of them have cameras, 4 of them can present documents. But I got them for their specialist interfaces. e.g. I can’t listen to an mp3 on my reader or my camera or my phone in the rain and easily scan through a podcast. Yes, this is an environmental disaster.)

Institutions have to stop saying No as a default position, and start looking for solutions.

How to stop worrying and learn to love the Internet – Nick Skelton Uni of Bristol

Seminal Sunday Times piece by Douglas Adams in 1999 on how everything which already existed in the world you were born into is fine, everything which you experience as new when you’re an adult is to be suspected until 20 or 30 years have passed without incident.

Tim Berners Lee: the internet doesn’t connect machines, it connects people. It has a social purpose not a technical purpose.

How can we see the future?

Unis are going to be transformed by the internet. They’re about knowledge, learning and ideas. The internet is dominating knowledge, learning and ideas. TED. RSA. University of Oxford Podcasts.

TED’s self-definition is also a pretty good definition of a university. TED is less exclusive than it was.

New collaboration tools threaten existing hierarchies.

Information – in 10 years our problem has switched from having too little information to having too much. (The poor quality of blogging is perhaps partly attributable to a complacency about information, a willingness to devolve fact-checking to the reader instead of it being something good writers do). Information you don’t have, or can’t find, is useless.

It’s trivial to copy information. Anything online will leak. One response to that is for institutions and individuals to say no to recordings. This is futile. Ian Tomlinson at G20 and Little Brother who recorded his abuse by police officers.

What is artificially secret becomes public – “Student beats chating charges for posting work online” (Chronicle of Higher Ed) even though tutor complained that they would have to set new exams.

Attention and reputation are the currency that matters.

We’re doing now what we thought was inconceivable 30 years ago. Maybe we ask the students to watch a video presentation before turning up, and use the lecture hour for question and answer and group work (but aren’t students already supposed to do reading before lectures? And how many do)?

What is our role? (who is “our”?)

The Edgeless University” JIC

Kevin Kelly “New Rules for the New Economy”

ideasandohdears is Nick’s blog.

Peter Robinson Oxford University – Pocket University

Refer back to Peter’s talk back in summer.

Laptop ownership is 90% at Oxford. Facebook dominates social lives at Oxford – by far students’ favourite website.

Podcasts break down the silos in universities – particularly when students begin to create audio.

PR is a great believer in audio – often no need for video, which increases the work, bandwidth hugely and limits how learners can engage with the piece ie not on the move, driving, walking.

Legal issues loom large – in order to move fast they had to check and approve every single piece they recorded and posted. Big challenge. HoD sign-offs.

Unbundling the university – Douglas Hine – School of Everything

Distinction: between the future of educational institutions and the future of the things we value education for. Education cannot be circumscribed by any single institution. Learning certainly can’t.

We aren’t good about predicting which technologies are going to take off. Video phone calls didn’t take off. SMS, unhyped, did take off.  Who’d have thought that Twitter would be perceived to be as important as it is?

Innovators and technology consumers are not superior to the other parts of the adoption cycle – ‘laggards’ is insulting.

Needs drive uptake and activities. We should be looking at dissatisfactions and unmet desires, rather than at the behaviours of people who just like new technologies.

For example mztek.org meets needs of students dissatisfied with facilities on their Media and Arts courses. Pippa Buchanan’s DIY Masters. Accessing teachers, mentors, fellow students. Thinking about where to get accreditation from. Self-organised alternative to higher education. Another example – the Economics PhD student who needed better maths but couldn’t get it within his institution. Another example – the SmartWork Company, Anne Marie McEwan finds it less frustrating to teach through her own teaching practices than through a university. Another example AlterFutures meetups for students.

Obstacles and objections which came up in a Demos seminar. According to the banking model of education, you deliver content and hand out units. But learning is not just about scaling up, but also about scaling down and self-organising through meetup or schoolofeverything.

What with all the scaling up and scaling down, what might be left in the middle for some universities might be a crisis.

Qualifications and accreditation need a rethink. Currently they function as a valid currency, portable achievements. What about the role of genealogies and recommendatiions.

(From Twitter – notgoingtouni.co.uk.Compare and contrast with the Peer to Peer University and the University of the People.)

Digital Identity – Shirley Williams, Uni of Reading

Digital identity map shows different categories of the trail you use on the Web.

Sometimes you can’t remember how to access the account on which the embarrassing information about yourself, posted years ago, is hosted.

The idea that your ‘social graph’ will be worth as much as your house.

The social revolution needs you – Lindsay Jordan, Uni of the Arts

metablog – a blog about blogging (ACTION – plunder heavily and use as example for blogs and blogging workshop)


Community is important. Reciprocity. The need to nurture a network of people to help us learn – leading and learning by example – and enabling other people to do the same.

Need for action and vision, vision and action.

Panel on virtual worlds

Look at K0 report in virtual worlds.

Bloke from life sciences background says that 2nd Life hasn’t given him anything he can’t get in real life.

More pro bloke – 2nd Life can break barriers of distance, is a start in simulation – training paramedics for example. Students can access simulation outside class time. It’s relatively cheap. And a third area – imaginative ways (unspecified)

Evan from JISC RSC – collaboration and face-to-face is very important, and students would entirely miss this in a virtual environment. Analogy between simulated patients and real patients might not be helpful. Interrupted by the pro bloke reminding about flight simulations (which is of course different again).

Qu: simulations are quicker and cheaper to set up in 2nd life than in other environments. (But only some things can be simulated.) Another panelist queries the claims of relative cheapness and quickness. The pro panelist authoritatively talks about a research study comparing different ways of learning surgery, including the finding that those who went into an operating theatre were paralysed by fear. In second life they were relaxed enough to experiment and learn.

There are sensory input devices for Second Life.

Good idea to watch this one on the vids – website (http://fote-conference.com/) for the presentations in a few days.

Written by Mira Vogel

October 2, 2009 at 17:35

Posted in event

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7 Responses

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  1. Wow! Thanks for this! It is really handy to have this sort of information available to those who either couldn’t attend, or weren’t even aware it was happening! An added bonus would be a FoTE Delicious account, where all the links from all the talks, and subsequent follow-up links, could permanently reside.


    October 2, 2009 at 19:44

  2. […] here to read the rest: Jots from the Future of Technology in Education 2009 (p.m.) October 2nd, 2009 | Tags: best, digital, education, free-one-day, future, getting-people, laptops, […]

  3. […] 3, 2009 by sallyballard I read this on Learning Technologists Jottings (A record of thoughts and actions by CELT staff @ Goldsmiths University London: what we do, what we […]

  4. […] in to @andpowe11’s coveritlive page every now and then and when I got home I also read a few blog posts and worked through the twitter stream. In doing so I found a few things that made me stop […]

  5. Hi Stephen, I didn’t go out of my way. I concentrate better if I’m taking notes. Hopefully they’ll post the media from the talks soon. I kind of had the impression they would, anyway.

    Mira Vogel

    October 6, 2009 at 12:57

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